Healthcare workers ‘feel left behind’ with overwhelmed hospitals
SEATTLE, WA – MAY 07: Nurse Karen Hayes administers care at Harborview Medical Center on May 7, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Karen Ducey / Getty Images)
As Washington state health officials sound the alarm that COVID-related hospitalizations are straining King County intensive care beds, a King County RN has spoken out. voiced on KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show about hospital conditions in the field.
“We are seeing at least three times as many COVID patients than we have ever seen before,” the registered nurse said. “Even in the first and second waves, we lost a number of staff during this time. There is no one to replace you. We don’t grow nurses on trees.
In a press release on Wednesday, the Washington State Department of Health addressed the current state of hospital capacity and quality of care.
“Hospital capacity is currently under strain across Washington state,” the statement said. “The increase in hospital admissions is one that the Washington Department of Health (DOH), along with its health partners, is watching closely. At present, the Washington partners have put in place a number of strategies to stretch resources and mitigate current challenges. “
As of the week of August 27, Harborview Medical Center had a 92.8% bed capacity in intensive care, with 90 of the 97 beds occupied, according to data from the health department. Statewide COVID-19 hospital daily occupancy figure stands at 1,585 as of September 6
Confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in Washington state
Speaking to Gee & Ursula, the King County nurse addressed the extended recovery times for hospital care of COVID patients. She says that alongside the failure of long-term care facilities to properly manage the volume of COVID patients, healthcare workers are struggling to keep up with demand.
“These people have been in the hospital for a very, very long time,” said the nurse. “Then they have to go to a rehabilitation center. They are not getting the extra dollars in rehab centers they received in the first year of COVID. They don’t want to take patients. They are sitting in our hospital. We have no place to send them.
She has clarified how King County hospitals are overloaded with COVID patients, especially in the context of what she sees as a staff shortage.
“There are no people outside. We can’t even bring in itinerant nurses to help us. The IC units are full because not only do we have COVID patients, but if you have a heart attack today, you are going to seek treatment. We have to make accommodations for that. It’s a real juggling game.
She ended the interview with the feeling that public opinion had turned against the health workers.
“We feel a bit left out,” she added.
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